Lampard returns to Chelsea as manager until end of season

AP , Thursday 6 Apr 2023

In a wild season of comings and goings at Chelsea, Frank Lampard’s out-of-the-blue return to Stamford Bridge is among the most improbable of the lot.

Chelsea s newly appointed English head coach Frank Lampard attends his unveiling press conference at Stamford Bridge in London - Frank Lampard returns to Chelsea as caretaker boss according to the club, April 6. AFP


Lampard, Chelsea’s record scorer and one of its greatest ever players, was hired as interim manager until the end of the season on Thursday to give the club time to find a permanent replacement for the fired Graham Potter.

Lampard was fired himself by Chelsea only two years ago and replaced as manager by Thomas Tuchel, though this occurred before Chelsea’s current ownership — fronted by American businessman Todd Boehly — was in control.

Now Lampard is back as a short-term fix while Chelsea continues talking to candidates for the job on a fulltime basis. Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique was reportedly in London on Wednesday to speak to Chelsea officials while Julian Nagelsmann, who was recently fired by Bayern Munich, has also been linked with the vacancy.

In the meantime, Lampard, who was fired by relegation-threatened Everton in January, will be leading Chelsea into the Champions League quarterfinals and a two-legged meeting with defending champion Real Madrid.

In getting dismissed by Chelsea in January 2021, Lampard was denied a chance to coach the team in the knockout stage of the Champions League that season. Tuchel took over, made the team hard to beat and ended up leading Chelsea to its second European Cup title with a win over Manchester City in the final.

Lampard’s first game back at Chelsea will be against Wolverhampton in the Premier League on Saturday. Chelsea is languishing in 11th place and unlikely to finish in the top four to qualify for the Champions League.

The squad he will inherit is very different to the one he left behind, after Chelsea’s spending spree in the last two transfer windows totaling $630 million on 16 players.

Lampard, a midfielder for Chelsea from 2001-14, will also be the fourth manager to lead the team this season, after Tuchel, Potter — who was fired on Sunday — and Bruno Saltor, who took charge of the 0-0 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday.

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